An Empirical Analysis of Paper Selection by Digital Printers
Jonen, Benjamin Philipp
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The Printing Industry is undergoing a Digital Revolution . The importance of digital printing has been increasing substantially over the last decade. How has this development affected the paper selection of printing firms? Only paper suppliers who successfully anticipate the changing needs of the printing firms will be able to benefit from the industry trend. This paper employs a probability model to analyze a survey data set of 103 digital printing firms in the USA and Canada. The research idea is to link the firm s paper selection with the firm s characteristics in order to gain insights into the printing firm s paper purchase behavior and the overall industry structure. The first part of this work investigates the importance of certain paper aspects, such as price, runnability and print quality. Strikingly, a company s involvement in digital printing, measured by the percent of digital printers of the total number of printers in the firm, is a central determinant of the importance of all paper aspects analyzed. This finding underscores the tremendous importance of the printing firms transition to digital printing for the Paper Industry. Paper runnability is found to become more important the faster the firm grows and can be explained by the fact that more successful firms incur higher opportunity costs from downtime. Another key finding is that the importance of paper price is lower for firms who collaborate with their customer on the paper selection and are able to pass on cost increases in the paper price. The second part involves a more direct assessment of paper selection. Here, the firm s characteristics are utilized to explain the choice of coated versus uncoated paper for the printing job. The analysis shows that firms involved in sophisticated print services, such as Digital Asset Management or Variable Data Printing are more likely to use the high quality coated paper. Further it is found that the usage of coated paper increases with catalog printing whereas it decreases with book and manual printing.